Aviation safety investigations & reports

Hydraulic system malfunction, return and evacuation involving Airbus A330, VH-EBC, near Sydney, New South Wales, on 15 December 2019

Investigation number:
Status: Active
Investigation in progress


The ATSB is investigating a hydraulic system malfunction and subsequent evacuation involving an Airbus A330 aircraft, registered VH-EBC and operated as Qantas flight 575 (QF575), at Sydney Airport, New South Wales, which occurred at about 1015 local time on 15 December 2019.

The aircraft departed Sydney on a scheduled passenger service to Perth. About 30 minutes into the flight, the flight crew identified an issue with the aircraft’s green hydraulic system, and the captain decided to return to Sydney. Following an uneventful landing, the aircraft entered the taxiway. Both engines were shut down and the aircraft’s auxiliary power unit was selected on. Due to the hydraulic system issue, nose wheel steering was unavailable, and the aircraft was towed to the gate.

Soon after arriving at the gate, mist was observed in the cabin and flight deck. The captain initiated an evacuation, which occurred through the aerobridge and three escape slides. As a result of the use of the escape slides, one passenger received a serious injury, with two other passengers reporting minor injuries. Subsequent examination of the aircraft identified that hydraulic fluid had leaked from the green hydraulic system.

As part of the investigation, the ATSB will interview the flight crew, cabin crew, other relevant personnel and selected passengers. The ATSB will also analyse data from the aircraft’s flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder and review evidence associated with the hydraulic system malfunction.

The ATSB is requesting that passengers on board flight QF575 and/or witnesses that have any information, video footage or photographs that they consider may be of relevance to the investigation to please contact the ATSB via email at QF.575@atsb.gov.au

A report will be released at the end of the investigation. Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant stakeholders so appropriate and timely safety action can be taken.

General details
Date: 15 December 2019   Investigation status: Active  
Time: 0854 AEDT   Investigation level: Defined - click for an explanation of investigation levels  
Location   (show map): 69 km south east Bathurst   Investigation phase: Evidence collection  
State: New South Wales   Occurrence type: Hydraulic  
  Occurrence category: Serious Incident  
Report status: Pending   Highest injury level: Serious  
Anticipated completion: 4th Quarter 2020    

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus  
Aircraft model A330-202  
Aircraft registration VH-EBC  
Serial number 0506  
Operator Qantas Airways  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Sector Jet  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Sydney, NSW  
Destination Perth, WA  
Last update 28 April 2020